The Queen and Her Delinquents

Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, arrive for the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London, England, March 9, 2020. (Henry Nicholls/Reuters)
The monarch shows dignity during a time of crisis; her grandchildren do not

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE Y esterday was Queen Elizabeth’s actual birthday. (Her “official” birthday is in June.) Her Majesty is 94 years old, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, who — uniquely — has been there to guide her country through both a world war and a pandemic.

Earlier this month, the queen gave a special address to the nation, the fifth of her 68-year reign. In it, she spoke of the “attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humored resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterize this country,” explaining that, just as in times gone by, “if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome” adversity. A week later, she gave her first-ever Easter address, which spoke of hope in unapologetically Christian terms.

If the Queen’s legacy is one of class and decorum, it is because she has worked hard to establish such a reputation. Over the decades, her self-effacing approach has demonstrated that she sees herself, first and foremost, as a public servant. It is this attitude that has won the trust and admiration of the public. Of course, not every royal takes after her. Her family has seen its fair share of scandals: adultery, divorce, and even implication in Jeffrey Epstein’s sex ring. But at least these embarrassments were accidental.

Since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, announced earlier this year that they would be “stepping back” from their role as senior royals, they have dogged the headlines. Even as the coronavirus rages across the globe, the couple — who seem to operate according to Oscar Wilde’s mantra that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about — have managed to attract the attention of the Canadian, American, and British press, all while pretending that this is contrary to their intentions.

On Easter Sunday, the Queen spoke dutifully of the need for quiet self-sacrifice, but Harry and Meghan — newly arrived in Los Angeles, where their team of Hollywood agents, PR flacks, and business managers awaited them — got to work being photographed delivering meals to Los Angeles’s residents. In her speeches, the Queen made ordinary Britons (and, you know, God) the heroes. But in their stunt, that role was reserved for Harry and Meghan themselves, who are simultaneously continuing their role as victims of the tabloid press.

Last week, Meghan and Harry sent written letters to the editors of the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, and the Daily Mirror to make clear that they will not “offer themselves up as currency for an economy of click bait and distortion.” In other words, they will not cooperate with these tabloids in stories about them, which only lead to “salacious gossip.” But as Dominic Green notes, “the timing is bizarre . . . The couple, or at least their lawyers, are due to speak with three of those four papers quite soon.” As part of their lawsuit against Associated Newspapers, Harry submitted text messages to London’s High Court that revealed his exchange with Markle’s father in the run-up to their wedding. Markle’s lawyers claim that the Mail misquoted the letter she sent to her father ahead of the wedding. But Markle’s estranged father denies this. He told journalists that while the British monarchy is “one of the greatest, long-living institutions ever,” Harry and Meghan were “cheapening it” by turning it into “something that’s ridiculous.” He’s right that the more oxygen they give the story, the more it backfires, resembling a sloppily written soap opera.

Normally, a gun salute at Hyde Park and the Tower of London would be fired in honor of the Queen on her birthday, but this year, amid the coronavirus, the monarch canceled these plans in the belief that they would not be appropriate. By contrast, as the world has ground to a halt around them, Harry and Meghan are still wangling to make everything about them. How’s that for a legacy?

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

New York’s Lawless NRA Lawsuit

The latest bananas news from the banana republic that is the State of New York: The attorney general, a political enemy of the National Rifle Association, is seeking to have the advocacy organization legally dissolved. The pretext is financial corruption and self-dealing on the part of the NRA’s ... Read More
Law & the Courts

New York’s Lawless NRA Lawsuit

The latest bananas news from the banana republic that is the State of New York: The attorney general, a political enemy of the National Rifle Association, is seeking to have the advocacy organization legally dissolved. The pretext is financial corruption and self-dealing on the part of the NRA’s ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Government Misconduct Frees Cliven Bundy

Politically charged prosecutions — even ones that are thoroughly justified — often end badly for the justice system. So it appears with the federal prosecutions of Cliven Bundy and his sons. The government blew its case against Bundy's sons by overcharging them, resulting in a jury acquittal in 2016. Today, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Government Misconduct Frees Cliven Bundy

Politically charged prosecutions — even ones that are thoroughly justified — often end badly for the justice system. So it appears with the federal prosecutions of Cliven Bundy and his sons. The government blew its case against Bundy's sons by overcharging them, resulting in a jury acquittal in 2016. Today, ... Read More
Education

Tom Cotton Introduces Campus Free-Speech Bill

I am pleased to announce that today Senator Tom Cotton has introduced the “Campus Free Speech Restoration Act” (CAFSRA). Under CAFSRA, public colleges and universities that promulgate restrictive speech codes, so-called free-speech zones, and other unconstitutional speech policies will lose their eligibility ... Read More
Education

Tom Cotton Introduces Campus Free-Speech Bill

I am pleased to announce that today Senator Tom Cotton has introduced the “Campus Free Speech Restoration Act” (CAFSRA). Under CAFSRA, public colleges and universities that promulgate restrictive speech codes, so-called free-speech zones, and other unconstitutional speech policies will lose their eligibility ... Read More
Film & TV

Laughing at Beyoncé’s Absolute Monarchy

Back in the Nineties, when hip-hop zealots questioned the intelligence of Beyoncé songs like Destiny’s Child’s careerist anthem “Survivor” and the sex-as-junk-food hit “Bootylicious,” there was little regard for the female agency that she now channels into an intersectional act, trading on gender and ... Read More
Film & TV

Laughing at Beyoncé’s Absolute Monarchy

Back in the Nineties, when hip-hop zealots questioned the intelligence of Beyoncé songs like Destiny’s Child’s careerist anthem “Survivor” and the sex-as-junk-food hit “Bootylicious,” there was little regard for the female agency that she now channels into an intersectional act, trading on gender and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The World’s Worst Idea

Almost a decade ago, I wrote a little book called The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism. When Regnery asked me to write the book, I was happy to do it but wondered whether a book on socialism, a brief conspectus of its grotesque failures, would be necessary or useful. I wondered why anybody would be ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The World’s Worst Idea

Almost a decade ago, I wrote a little book called The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism. When Regnery asked me to write the book, I was happy to do it but wondered whether a book on socialism, a brief conspectus of its grotesque failures, would be necessary or useful. I wondered why anybody would be ... Read More